Career assessment: feedback and possibilities

Remember being in the seventh grade when someone handed you a test to complete? I do. I was totally into music, and the report form of the test said I should work in a music store. I was crushed. I had no ability to think critically, to remember that the test had no measure of talent, that I was free to question and even reject the results if they didn’t suit me.

I find that most people remember similar experiences: being told they “should” be an undertaker, a lawyer, a dentist, a farmer. a homemaker. We joke about these findings now, but we took them very seriously at the time. What were they thinking?

Tests are different now, and you are different. If you are an adult of any age, you will still be interested in your test results, but I hope you will not allow a print-out to change the course of your life if you don’t like what it says. Here are a few observations I’ve made after going over many, many assessment results with people ranging in age from college-bound to retirement planners.

  • They hope to see something they are dreaming of,
  • They are afraid that there won’t be anything of interest to them,
  • They are afraid of being labeled mediocre,
  • They are afraid of being found to have enormous potential,
  • They will have to adjust their thinking,
  • They won’t understand the results,
  • They will have to explain the findings to the people in their lives.

A good interpretation should allow plenty of time for you to receive an adequate explanation of the results. You might like to know how the test was developed and normed (established statistically), how stable the results will be in your life, and how to implement the results in your educational and work life.

A client recently found validation of a strength she had not considered and didn’t particularly want to go into. She just told me that although her new job is in the field she wanted, it will also contain the possibilities of being more focused on this newly-discovered interest. She therefore approaches the new job with a curiosity and willingness to go in that new direction. It is possible to use your test results to build up your willingness to learn something new.

Whether you are taking a test online, in a class or a training program, or with a qualified career professional, remember these tips:

  • keep a light touch about it,
  • be willing to explore new possibilities,
  • be open about the ideas you’re considering,
  • be willing to laugh at yourself,
  • remember that assessment is only part of career decison-making.

If you would like to discuss career assessment or take a test or two, please visit my website at to schedule an appointment.

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